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Let the Shefs Cook

Jul/08/2023 / by Maureen Petrosky

[Story 1]

Home-cooked meals you’ve been craving delivered right to your door

These days, you can order almost any food online. Be it through postmates, doordash, or uber eats. You can find meal kits to cook yourself and groceries from instacart. There are even mail-order gifts from the likes of Goldbely who source from restaurants and bakeries nationwide. But what about a home-cooked, authentic Indian  meal? One that includes all the hard-to-get ingredients from your home country, just like your auntie used to make.

Meet the Shefs

A combination of “she” and “chef”, Shefs is an online community comprised primarily of women, many of those women of color, representing 85 countries around the globe. They are sharing food from their homelands, made in their kitchens, and delivered right to you. From bone broth to Italian Parms or  Zeppole, to north Indian dishes like Aloo Samosa or Murg Makhani, and more. They are local cooks certified in food safety and excited about sharing their food and culture. Essentially, It’s an online marketplace for homemade food from people in your local community. It’s like if you could customize your neighborhood meal train, or enjoy your Nana’s fantastic baked goods anytime you crave. 

Who is Cooking?

If right about now you’re reading this and thinking, Wow, that’s such a cool concept I’d love to be a shef, you can be. One of the most inspiring parts of this business model is that they empower women to run their own food businesses on their terms. The ethos behind Shef is to let people make a meaningful income doing what they love and sharing their food, but also that consumers deserve access to wholesome, affordable meals.

The company provides its shefs with the backbone for a business. They help with marketing, payments, even pricing your items, all logistics, and customer support. Once you are in, Shefs can make up to $1,000 a week.

There are five simple steps to get started. First, all shefs need to be approved. This is as easy as creating your sample menu and getting certified in food safety. Then you pick your schedule. Next, you prepare your meals, cool them safely and finally, they help you serve your customers safely and efficiently and deliver the food to them on time. 

The Shef team is available to you for advice and they even offer tutorials on how to take the best photos of your dishes to be showcased on their website. The shef testimonials and customer feedback include rave reviews and you can even spot James Beard award winner and celeb chef Aaron Sanchez on their website showing his love for the business. 

What to Expect

Maybe your roots are in West India, you’re from the South, or perhaps Peru and you’re missing food like your mom made. You simply head to Shef.com and put in your zipcode and see what types of cuisines are offered in your area. There are all sorts of discounts when you register you receive $15 off your first order. More promos pop up like $10 for referring friends, and then those friends get $20 towards their orders. Beyond the logistics, you simply order your favorite meal selection and say when you would like it delivered. It’s simple and delivers so much more than fast food. The Shefs promise “healthy, high-quality meals made with love by local chefs in your community”.

Whether you’re looking for a delicious homemade meal tonight, a side hustle, or a food business on your terms check out Shef.com. 

“We are building a community devoted to economic empowerment and cultural inclusivity that enables anyone to feed their neighbor.” – Shef

[BOX] FACTS: 85% of shefs

are women

80% of shefs are people of color

Over 85 countries represented

[STORY 2]

Food Truck Frenzy

Whether you’re in the U.S. or India, food trucks are making inroads.

From the bustling urban settings to food festivals, food trucks are more popular than ever, and Indian food trucks are one of the highlights. The U.S. food truck industry has grown at an average annual rate of 9.9% since 2018. From coast to coast, Indian food trucks are rolling into major cities from Los Angeles to Detroit to Pittsburgh. From the empty nester giving her passion for Indian food a mobile home in Bend, OR with her new food truck called Anita’s Kitchen to the inventive new Indian fusion truck in Dearborn, MI called Paradise Biryani Pointe, on-the-road diners can find anything from classic favorites butter chicken and Dal Makhani to chicken tikka kati rolls wrapped in paratha bread.

The convenience of food trucks and relatively low barrier to entry, the emergence of food truck culture is making a significant impact on the culinary world in India as well. Much like the U.S., food truck owners tap into social media to keep customers engaged and let them know what their serving and where they’ll be. Here are four yummy food trucks rolling into a city near you.

Damariscotta, Maine

On Banyan Tree’s opening day last month, the butter chicken and saag paneer prepared by Damariscotta resident San Rudra and his family sold out within two hours. Inspired by his father, who dreamed of opening his own restaurant but passed away in 2021, the food truck was created in his honor with hopes of filling the dearth of Indian food in the region.

Banyantreeme.com

Portland, OR

If garlic naan is your thing, make a stop at Flavours of India at the open-air Rockwood Market Hall next time you’re in Portland. Although they do everything well, the chicken tikka masala is a standout dish.

Detroit, MI

Srinath “Ziggy” Kalmadi owns three restaurants, although Paradise Street Eats and Biryani is his first food truck. Beyond biryani, Ziggy’s food truck in the Greektown area of Detroit offers an inventive take on Indian food with dishes like chicken tikka kati rolls wrapped in paratha bread or za-atar cheese dosa. 

Atlanta, GA

For some of Atlanta’s tastiest samosas and dosas, hit up Stop Eat Repeat serves up Indian comfort food without sacrificing quality ingredients.

[STORY 3]

Something Big is Brewing

India’s Rupee Beer is one of the fastest-growing beer brands with big-time collaborations on the horizon

During the pandemic, two Indian brothers—Van and Sumit Sharma—returned to their hometown in Portland, ME to pitch in at their family’s restaurant, Bombay Mahal in Brunswick. While they were mostly running takeout during COVID, the limited supply chain left them running short of Indian beer brands like Taj Mahal and Kingfisher. Grabbing a hold of their family’s entrepreneurial spirit, they reached out to a brewing consultant to help them create their own brand of Indian beer, now called Rupee Beer.

The brothers released the beer in October 2021, and it now distributes in 12 states. In addition to being sold in select Whole Foods, Costco, and Total Wine & More, the company recently announced it would be also sold in grocery chains Trader Joe’s. Adding to its fast-growing popularity, Rupee Beer is now joining forces with Indian celebrity chef Aarthi Sampath, the first Indian woman to ever win Chopped on Food Network, launching the first-of-its-kind Beer & Biryani collaboration.

[Fact] Rupee Beer, which recently was named Best Beer For World Food.

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